Super ControversyPosted: January 30, 2010
Big controversy brewing at the Super Bowl. And I don’t mean which team Archie Manning will be rooting for — his Saints or his son’s Colts. This controversy revolves around the reason that much of the country watches the Big Game in the first place: the television ads.
It seems that the conservative evangelical group Focus on the Family has spent the nearly $3 million required for a 30-second spot to bring the abortion debate into the living rooms of nearly 100 million viewers. The spot features Tim Tebow, the Hesiman Trophy-winning quarterback of the Florida Gators and his mother Pam. Evidently Mrs. Tebow was advised by doctors to have an abortion for medical reasons but she decided to carry the child to term. Focus on the Family sees this as a strong and compelling anti-abortion message: “Don’t have an abortion! The child you murder could be a star quarterback! And you could wind up on a Super Bowl ad!”
CBS has taken much flack from women’s rights groups for allowing the ad since, in past years, they’ve rejected such “advocacy advertising.” In recent years the network has declined ads from organizations like moveon.org and the United Church of Christ which, in 2004, attempted to air an ad proclaiming their acceptance of gays and lesbians. Never mind that Focus on the Family’s founder James Dobson once claimed that gay marriage will “destroy the earth.” CBS claims that their policy has “evolved” over the years. Which surely has nothing to do with the economy or the beliefs of the network bigwigs, let alone the national political climate.
So. Free speech versus dictating morality during the single biggest annual event in America (sorry Christmas). An event that brings Americans together over pigskin, potato skins, and cheerleader skin. An issue that divides driving a wedge through an event that unites. CBS can’t have it both ways.
In the meantime it’s not even worth calculating how much the cost of the ad alone might help the people of Haiti. Ironically, Focus on the Family has a fund to help Haiti advertised on its home page. If only.